November Visa Bulletin Released

The US Department of State released the November Visa Bulletin. USCIS announced that it would accept adjustment of status applications based on the Dates for Filing chart for both family and employment based preference categories. However, as the family-based 2nd preference category is Current, F2A applicants should use the Final Action Date chart. All other family-based preference categories should use the Dates for Filing chart.

As to the employment-based preference category, the new cut-off dates for issuance of an immigrant visa will be as follows:

EB-1: All countries except for China and India will advance by more than a month to June 1, 2018. China will advance by three months to February 1, 2017. India will remain at January 1, 2015.

EB-2: China will advance by about ten weeks to March 15, 2015, while India will advance by one day, to May 13, 2009. All other countries will remain current.

EB-3: China and India will remain the same at November 1, 2015, and January 1, 2009, respectively. The Philippines will advance by about three and half months to February 1, 2018. All remaining countries will remain current.

EB-5: The Non-Regional Center categories will remain current for most countries. China will advance about one week to November 1, 2014. India will advance by about two weeks to December 8, 2017. Vietnam will advance by one month to November 15, 2016. The Regional Center categories will also follow these cut-off dates until November 21, 2019, when the program is set to expire. Unless reauthorized, the Regional Center categories will become unavailable on November 22.

Public Charge Regulation Will Not Go Into Effect

On October 11, 2019, judges in three separate cases before the US District Courts for the Southern District of New York, Norther District of California, and Eastern District of Washing enjoined DHS from implementing and enforcing the final rule. Two of the injunctions are nationwide. The Court also enjoined the USCIS from implementing the use of any new or updated forms whose submission would be required under the Final Rule. The USCIS forms that were released and later removed from the USCIS website included Forms I-129, I-485, I-539, I-864, I-864EZ, I-944 and I-945.

The Department of State’s public charge regulation, which was to take effect on October 15, 2019, was postponed until the new Forms and FAM revisions are approved by the Office of Management and Budget.

The rule would impose a higher standard on visa applicants to establish that they are not likely to become a public charge of the U.S. government. Under the rule, consular officers would review each visa applicant under a “totality of circumstances” test that would include consideration of the applicant’s age, household size, income, finances, receipt of certain public benefits, health, education and skills.

White House Nominates Poland for Entry into ESTA

The Department of States has officially nominated Poland for entry into Visa Waiver Program. If approved, it will be the 39th country to participate in the VWP.

President Issues Proclamation Suspending Pending Entry of Immigrants Who May Burden the US Healthcare System

On October 4, 2019, President Trump issued a Proclamation that is effective on November 3, 2019, suspending the entry of immigrants who will “financially burden the U.S. healthcare system. This will effect immigrant visa applicants who are applying abroad for entry to the US. Under the Proclamation, entry to the US can be suspended or limited unless the immigrant can prove to a consular officer that they are covered or will be covered by approved health insurance within 30 days of entry to the US, or are able to pay for reasonably foreseeable medical costs. Researchers estimate it could keep up to two-thirds of future immigrants out of the U.S. who would be legally admissible under current law. Legal challenges to this Proclamation is expected. We will keep you posted on future updates.

Automatic Extension and TPS

E-Verify released a reminder on September 27, 2019, that certain employment authorization documents (EADs) issued by USCIS to Temporary Protected Status (TPS) beneficiaries from Sudan, Nicaragua, Haiti, and El Salvador are automatically extended through January 2, 2020.

TPS for El Salvador Extended

DHS released a statement announcing that an agreement was signed between the DHS, USCIS and the El Salvador Foreign Minister Alexandra Hill to collaborate on information sharing, border and aviation security. As part of this agreement, additional time has been granted for El Salvadorans with TPS status. TPS for El Salvador will be extended for an additional 365 days after the conclusion of the TPS-related lawsuits and the validity of the TPS-based employment authorization for El Salvador is extended through January 4, 2021.

Premium Processing Fee Increase

USCIS announced today, October 30, 2019, that effective November 29, 2019 it will increase the premium processing filing fee to $1,440 for certain employment-based petitions. The premium processing fee is currently $1,410. It is an optional service allowing petitioners of certain I-129 and I-140 based petitions to request a 15-day processing period.

I-130 Can Now Be Filed Online

USCIS announced today, October 30, 2019, that the I-130 Petition for Alien Relatives can now be filed online. Online filing allows petitioners to submit their application electronically. USCIS has been working to increase the number of applications that can be filed online to improve efficiency. The other forms that can be filed electronically include Form I-90, I-539, Form N-336, Form N-400, Form N-565, Form N-600,and Form N-600K.